Report: Schenectady landslide caused by broken pipe

Local

Reports indicate that a broken pipe caused the hill above Nott Terrace in Schenectady to give way.

Neighbors say they remember water rushing down these streets, and just days later, a landslide came and crushed a man in this home. 

“It’s traumatizing,” Iquann Cornish, Landslide victim, said.

Cornish sustained the most serious injuries after the landslide back in January.  

Some residents say they were dealing with flood waters from broken pipes well before the slide. 

“Like a week or so before that there was a water main bust. It was flooding and then it froze. We saw the water, we saw the ice, but no one had been coming there,” Teresa Pinckney, a neighbor, said.  

According to another resident, city officials did come.  One neighbor says that the city knew about the broken pipes and sent crews to assess the situation just two days before the slide.

So what actually happened? 

The Schenectady Daily Gazette reports that a broken pipe was to blame. City Engineer Chris Wallen told the paper that water from a broken line connected to a home on Barney Street eventually seeped into the hill and put everything into motion. 

Mayor Gary McCarthy said he wasn’t going to comment on it.

NEWS10 ABC also reached out to the city engineer and was told he was unavailable.  So how could a broken pipe cause a landslide?

Dr. Robert Titus, a professor of geology, explains. 

“Such a great amount of earth was waterlogged that it just gave way.”

Titus says it would take a lot of water to move that hill, so it’s possible that pipe burst well before. 

“It took a while. It might’ve taken days. The reason I say that is it hasn’t been that wet a season.”

Now, the hill has been stabilized, but Pinckney says she’s still wary living on top of it. 

“Even though they’ve said that we are deemed safe, that [house that slid] was supposed to be deemed safe,” Pinckney said.

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